The Ultimate Guide to Decorating a Cake With Edible Flowers

Flowers aren’t just for decorating cakes — you can make them an edible part of the dessert! Edible flowers are a beautiful, unexpected and delicious way to dress up you cake designs. Designing a cake with edible flowers is a wonderful way to tie in seasonal elements while adding another layer of flavor.

Edible Flower Cake by Erin Gardner

Images via ErinBakes.com.

Selecting edible flowers for your cake

Top tips for selecting edible flowers

Always choose flowers that have been grown to be food safe. Flowers purchased from florists, garden centers, and box stores have most likely been treated with levels of pesticides that are not considered food safe. Ask your local florist if they can bring in food-grade flowers from some of their local suppliers for your cake project. 

Farmers markets and specialty grocery stores are great places to look for edible flowers. Grocers can typically special order boxes with a variety of edible flowers with advanced notice.

Use caution when picking edible flowers on your own. Check with a guidebook or reputable online resource before eating a flower you’re unfamiliar with. Never eat flowers picked from the side of the road or from a location you can’t ensure hasn’t been sprayed with harmful pesticides. Many popular varieties of flowers (like hydrangea or certain lilies) can be poisonous, so always check before eating!

Storing edible flowers

Storing edible flowers is just like storing fresh herbs or vegetables. Cut or purchase them as close to serving time as possible. Keep them in the coolest part of your fridge until you’re ready to use them. Handle edible flowers as little as possible to prevent petals from bruising.

Edible Flowers | Erin Gardner

Popular varieties of edible flowers

  • Violet
  • Pansy
  • Squash blossom
  • Citrus blossom
  • Rose
  • Nasturtium
  • Lilac
  • Lavender
  • Hibiscus
  • Fuchsia
  • Chamomile
  • Marigold
  • Snapdragon
  • Carnation
  • Dandelion
  • Day Lily

Ideas for decorating a cake with edible flowers

Pattern power

Use a combination of whole flowers and petals to create circular designs composed of repeating patterns. This look is inspired by the Buddhist mandala tradition.

Mandala Inspired Cake With Edible Flowers

Put a ring on it

Encircle the top of your cake with clusters of edible blooms. Customize your cake by writing the guest of honor’s name or special message in the center with buttercream. 

Edible Flower Ring | Erin Gardner

Petal party

Pick petals off whole blooms and scatter them over the top and sides of a freshly iced cake for a fun, confetti-inspired look.

Flower Petal Confetti | Erin Gardner

Floral filled

Create a composed floral topper by first placing flowers along the edge of the cake, then filling in the center with more flowers until a full look is achieved. 

Floral Filled Cake | Erin Gardner

Candied cuties

Candied flowers are a classic cake garnish. The sugary coating adds both sweetness and an element of crunch. 

Candied Flowers on a Cake | Erin Gardner

How to make candied flowers

Candied Flower Supplies | Erin Gardner

Supplies:

  • Pasteurized egg whites
  • Superfine sugar
  • Small paint brush
  • Tweezers
  • Spoon
  • Parchment-lined cookie sheet
  • Edible flowers and loose petals

Step 1:

Carefully pick up a whole flower or single flower petal with tweezers.

Picking Up a Flower with Tweezers | Erin Gardner

Use the paintbrush to gently coat each petal with a thin layer of egg whites. Make sure the entire surface of the flower or petal is covered — front and back.

Painting Petals with Egg Whites | Erin Gardner

Step 2:

Place the coated flower into a bowl of superfine sugar. Use a spoon to sprinkle sugar over the surface of the flower. Lift the flower up out of the sugar using the tweezers. Gently tap the tweezers against the rim of the bowl to knock off any excess sugar.

Superfine sugar is ideal for creating delicate, shimmering petals, but regular granulated sugar will achieve similar results if superfine is difficult to find in your area.

Tossing the Coated Flower in Sugar | Erin Gardner

Step 3:

Lay the flower or petal onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet to dry for at least 12 hours, up to overnight. Your flowers are ready to use when they’re dry and firm to the touch.

Candied Flower | Erin Gardner

Step 4:

Use candied flowers right away or store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months. Store flowers flat, and layer them between sheets of parchment or waxed paper to prevent them from breaking.

Candied Flowers | Erin Gardner

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